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Fall Garden Planning

What ever to plant? The summer blast furnace isn’t quite over with, but it’s time to get seed started for the Fall season.. So, what ever shall I plant this time around?

Get GMOs Out of Organic Baby Food!

Take Action:

In 2009, a front page Washington Post article, “Integrity of Federal ‘Organic’ Label Questioned.” explained how Martek iosciences’ synthetic DHA and ARA ended up in organic infant formula. In 2006, National Organic Program staff told Martek that its synthetic DHA and ARA couldn’t be used in organic because they were synthetic and not on the National List. But, Martek’s lawyer, J. Friedman, was able to get their decision reversed by NOP director Barbara Robinson, with just a call and an email. He told the Washington Post, “I called Robinson up, I wrote an e-mail. It was a simple matter.”

The NOP and NOSB ignored evidence that Martek’s products should never have even been considered for use in organic in the first place.According to patents uncovered by the Cornucopia Institute, all of Martek’s DHA and ARA products are produced through genetic engineering, processed with volatile synthetic solvents and microencapsulated, three things that are expressly banned from USDA Organic.
Tragically, Martek’s Life’sDHA and Life’sARA, remain in hundreds of products, many of them certified USDA Organic.
Please ask the National Organic Standards Board to reverse its decision to approve Martek’s petition and urge the USDA National Organic Program to rescind the illegal 2006 approval and remove genetically engineered, volatile-synthetic-solvent-processed and microencapsulated Life’sDHA and Life’sARA from organic products.

Tell the EPA to Ban Glyphosate!

Action Alert
Ban Monsanto’s RoundUp! Experts Say It’s Worse than DDT!
Tell the EPA to Ban Glyphosate
The EPA is currently conducting a “Registration Review” of glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp. RoundUp is owned by Monsanto, recently named the worst company in the worldby the Natural Society. The EPA will be gathering data on glyphosate through the summer of 2012 and making a final decision no earlier than 2015.
The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate, and it should, given glyphosate is:

– worse than DDT

– spawning super-weeds that reduce yields, and

– responsible for a deadly new pathogen that is plaguing plants with new diseases and animals (including humans) with infertility.

Please watch this documentary from Argentina on the dangers of glyphosate. The video, in two parts below, is in Spanish with English subtitles. If the subtitles do not appear automatically, start the video first, then click the arrow on the bottom right and select “Turn on captions.” Then, click “Take Action” to send a letter to the EPA that contains links to scientific research that is leading experts to believe glyphosate is even more dangerous than DDT.

Unknown moth ID’d: Polites Vibex

Back in April, I submitted a picture of an unknown moth to BAMONA for identification. I had started to ID some butterflies but had not really seen any moths other than the intrepid Sphinx moths, which are agony to anyone growing tomatoes, or anything in the Solanaceae family for that matter. Well I just received notification on the identification of this unknown moth I snapped a pic of earlier this year, and it’s a Polites Vibex!

Here is the sighting.

GMO salmon… blocked in the House?

Grist reports:

The eminent fisheries writer Paul Greenberg recently gutted and filleted the rationale for a novel type of farmed salmon genetically altered to grow faster. The “improved” fish, created by a Massachusetts-based company called AquaBounty Technologies, threatens to “escape and contaminate wild populations of salmon,” Greenberg wrote. And the business model AquaBounty has in mind is ecologically insane: “the fish requires much wasteful transport since it would be cloned in Canada, grown in Panama, and then flown back to the U.S. for consumption.” On top of those obvious drawbacks, the GMO salmon literally offers no benefits to the environment or consumers. “It is completely unnecessary,” he concludes. Its only rationale is economic — as defined narrowly by the interests of the AquaBounty shareholders. Greenberg writes:

It seems to me that what the AquaBounty AquAdvantage salmon represents is the privatization of the salmon genome. Should salmon farming come to be dominated by the AquAdvantage fish, farmers could become dependent on a single company for their stock, just as soy, corn, and wheat farmers must now rely on large multinationals like Monsanto to provide seed for their fields year in and year out. AquaBounty will literally own salmon farming.

Despite all of this, the FDA is currently deliberating on whether to green-light AquaBounty’s dubious masterpiece — and is widely expected to do just that sometime this year. That is, unless resistance from an unlikely quarter, the Republican-controlled U.S. House, prevails. From the Associated Press:

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, offered an amendment to a farm spending bill late Wednesday that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to approve AquaBounty’s application. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

Now, the good Rep. Young was not acting on high principle, attempting to protect the environment and consumers from a product that will likely generate much more harm than good. Rather, he was baldly protecting constituents’ economic interests. “Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state,” AP reports.

As much as I want to applaud it, the move marks a potentially dangerous precedent. If Congress can block regulatory agencies from approving products on the basis of harming narrow economic interests, it can also block agencies from enforcing regulations that harm those same interests. Do we want to live in a world where Congress intervenes to, say, force the EPA to approve a nasty pesticide just because its maker gives cash to some backbencher? Agencies like the FDA and USDA, riddled as they are by industry influence, would be much better positioned to fight off such challenges if they actually did their jobs and protected the public interest. In this case, that would mean forcing AquaBounty to keep its dodgy fish out of the marketplace — based on the merits of the case.

Take Action Now.

23 of 40 sprout samples proven clear of E.coli superbug

Let’s get over the fearmongering against bean sprouts now, mmkay?

The AP reports on these 23 samples being cleared so far. The remaining 17 are still undergoing tests and should be released shortly.

Organic Trade Association, or Big Agri Shills?

Organic Consumer Association, a most excellent source of organic news, has linked a short investigative film that documents the ties of Board Members in the Organic Trade Association to Big Business Agriculture companies which pedal GMO foods in their products. How can the biggest Organic lobby group allow this? It’s always about money. Watch the video to see why.

Organic Spies Documentary Details Systemic Corruption in the Organic Trade Association

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Documentary Highlights:

  • Financial evidence that the President of the Board of Directors of the OTA, Julia Sabin, VP/GM of Smucker Natural individually profits from Smucker selling GE foods.
  • An in-depth an analysis of the political donations of Tim Smucker & Jenny Smucker. They have contributed $75,500 in the past 10 years to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, the pro-high-fructose-corn-syrup lobbying group.

Documentary Links Proving Corruption of the OTA Board


Bees in the garden… even a green one!

The busy body bees are in and around the garden collecting pollen from mostly sunflowers. I’ve got some other wildflowers in there too, but they don’t produce anywhere near the amount of pollen that these sunflowers do, or for that matter the quantity of flowers. In the breeze, they handily buzz about for a few seconds before deciding to hop on down and collect up some pollen. Then, they move on to another flower and repeat the process till they fill up and head home to the hive.

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Seeing bees is a good sign, but seeing this one really caught my attention! This green metallic beauty sure is a sight for the eyes! I’ve never seen a bee of this coloring. From the varieties that have humbly crossed into my garden, this one is a new on me! It sure catches the eyes!

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Coalition fosters healthful eating through gardens

El Monitor reports:

A Rio Grande Valley organization is working to promote a nutritious diet in colonias, one garden at a time.

The Coalition for Valley Families presented its pilot Garden of Hope on Tuesday morning at the Alton Recreation Center, 349 W. Dawes St. Volunteers planted the garden in February.

The garden has tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, onion and rosemary.

Although small, with two approximately 3-foot-by-3-foot plots, organizers have big plans for gardens in the future.

The plan is to teach colonia residents how to grow their own vegetables, said Dagoberto Garza, a board member of the Coalition.

Four other gardens will be planted around the Valley, but the Coalition has not decided where, said Roger Marcelino, the president of the Coalition’s board.

The Coalition also will help residents get discounted or free supplies, such as soil and seeds, for their gardens, Garza said.

Zenayda Delgadillo, an Alton colonia resident who volunteered at the community center garden, said she will garden at home.

The small garden at the community center showed that gardening is possible even in a small space, such as a patio or an apartment, she said.

Delgadillo said she looks forward to teaching her two children, who normally will not eat vegetables, how to garden during their summer break.

“If they themselves see how a vegetable grows, they will eat it,” she said in Spanish.

Coalition members hope the gardens will promote healthful eating in areas with residents who can’t always afford to choose the nutritious option.

The Garden of Hope project is run by the Health Task Force of the Coalition. The Coalition also has Youth, Family Asset Building, Literacy and Community Resource Coordination Groups task forces.


Summer must be here!

When the temperature outside reaches 101, it must be summer. Gah! There goes the water bill…